Social Listening for Rob Ford, the Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto

Social Listening for Rob Ford, the Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto

Leslie Nuccio
22 November 2013

Unless you’ve escaped media for the past few weeks, you’ve heard about Rob Ford, or – as he’s now more commonly referred to in the media – “The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto.”  With access to a tool that crunches together gozillions of data sources an hour (yes, of course that’s a real number) to tell us what the world is talking about, I decided to do a little social listening to the Rob Ford chatter.

So if you somehow haven’t heard about Rob Ford yet, just take a look at the results for a simple Boolean search that simply said “Rob Ford” AND “mayor” AND “toronto” and you’ll get a pretty clear picture of what’s been happening up there in Canada:

 

A quick word cloud around the governor’s name tells the story pretty clearly. The “Burgundy,” “Ron Burgundy” and “Conan” results are a win for Will Farrell, who hitched his “Anchorman 2” press junket to the mayor’s falling star with a song on the Conan O’Brien show.

 

“Embattled,” indeed: that’s the only adjective in the word cloud, and Toronto’s inability to remove him from office or convince him to step down is what surfaced that apt adjective, seen there on its own and attached to both the words “Toronto” and “mayor.”

While “The Daily Show” has been doing an excellent job of covering this colorful politician, Conan O’Brien deserves a shout-out for newsjacking the social media world again (he did this really successfully with the Twitter IPO, too).  the word cloud tells us that, from a social media win perspective, the video that people are talking about is the Chris Farley mashup movie trailer for the ficticious “Rob Ford: The Movie”:

 

 

The “topoli” result was also interesting, and clicking in led me to discover that it’s a hashtag for local paper The Star.  Well done, Star: you’ve attached your hashtag to your infamous mayor, and have drastically raised the visibility of your media outlet in continual streams of 140 characters or less.

 

Oh, Canada: the U.S. is dominating the chatter about your crack-smoking mayor.

 

One interesting thing to note is that the United States represents most of the chatter at 64%, due most likely to the fact that (1) our population is a lot larger (almost 10X that of Canada), and (2) we love ourselves a good old-fashioned political scandal, especially one that involves a politician so unable to keep himself from talking in front of the camera.

 

TMFKATCSMOTFKARF: The Man Formerly Known as The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto Formerly Known as Rob Ford

One things is very clear in all the chatter: with Rob Ford being more commonly referred to at this point as “The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto,” I might make a suggestion for a rebrand.  Ford is an unconventional guy, so I’m thinking he go the Prince / TAFKAP route, change his spoken name to “”The Man Formerly Known as The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto Formerly Known as Rob Ford,” or “TMFKATCSMOTFKARF” and adopt a symbol that he can both wear and sell on T-shirts.

This is a merchandising goldmine, Still-Mayor Ford.  Trust me on this one.  And you may be in need of a job after the next election… although, with an approval rating one point higher than Barack Obama’s and a country known for its overall niceness, I may be speaking too soon.

(For more on social listening and how your brand might use it if your mayor admits to smoking crack, check out our social listening guide, or – for bonus points – register for our upcoming social listening webinar.)